For the second season in a row the Carolina Hurricanes are taking it in the shins when it comes to injuries, but Jeff Skinner could be close to returning to the bruised and battered lineup. He injured his hand on October 24 on the road against the Minnesota Wild, and has missed seven contests since that point.
The ‘Canes have only won two of those games, though that has a bit more to do with Cam Ward being out of the lineup than it does with Skinner not skating. Still, for a team that is the 28th worst offensive squad in the league, any help up front counts as forward motion at this juncture.
Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer reported that Skinner is making progress this morning:
An injury update: Muller said goalie Cam Ward may be able to be in the lineup as the backup by the weekend and forward Jeff Skinner may rejoin practice by Friday or early next week.
It could take the 21-year-old forward a few practices to shake off the rink rust, but that timetable certainly suggests that Skinner could be ready for action in the coming weeks. The cardiac ‘Canes are going to be a bubble playoff team at this point, but they aren’t out of the race.
They’re only two points behind the New York Rangers for the final wild card spot, and have somehow managed to hang in there despite losing their No. 1 and No. 2 goaltenders are pretty much the same time. If Carolina hopes to make the dance, they’ll need Skinner to continue to improve while producing points at a regular interval.